Sealing wax case
Material and Medium: Brass
Dimensions: Overall: 22 × 15 × 122mm (7/8 × 9/16 × 4 13/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1924.18
This brass case dating from 1654 was used to hold a stick of sealing wax. Important documents were closed by pressing an engraved seal into melted wax. The writer's initials or a family crest indicated who had sent the document and an unbroken seal meant no-one had tampered with it.
The seal on this case is a flower branch and the initials R.F. There is an inscription on the side which reads: 'I was in Sheffeild made & many can Wittnes:, I was not made by any man' (sic). This is a pun referring to the case maker Thomas Madin, whose surname is pronounced 'maiden'; another word for a woman.
In the 1600s the Madins were one of many small family businesses making cutlery and small domestic items in rural Derbyshire. They moved from Wirksworth to Sheffield as the city grew in the 1700s and made silver handled cutlery.
Weston Park Museum